April 2009 Vol. 107 No. 6 THE REVIEW

Foreword: Why Write?

Erwin Chemerinsky

2009 Survey of Books Related to the Law

 

This wonderful collection of reviews of leading recent books about law provides the occasion to ask a basic question: why should law professors write? There are many things that law professors could do with the time they spend writing books and law review articles. More time and attention could be paid to students and to instructional materials. More professors could do pro bono legal work of all sorts. In fact, if law professors wrote much less, teaching loads could increase, faculties could decrease in size, and tuition could decrease substantially.

The answer to the question “why write” is neither intuitive nor obvious. Nevertheless, as a professor who has been writing for almost thirty years, much of which likely never has been read by anyone, I find myself inevitably asking what is worth writing about and for whom. As a new dean (of a new law school), I have begun to think of this question in a more institutional context: what faculty behaviors should a law school encourage and reward?

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